This time of year, every year, corned beef brisket returns in force to the butchers section of your local grocery store. Corned beef is a guilty pleasure of mine, and we’ve gone through 10-15 lbs every March. The pink interior of the brisket you’ve known and loved is from using either pink salt with sodium nitrate or other added nitrates/nitrites. Skipping this will result in a grayer brisket, but still great flavor.
This year, we decided to take the plunge and figure out how to make our own corned beef. Fun fact: the “corned” in corned beef has to do with salt-curing, or brining, the brisket. We experimented with a quick corning, and while the flavor was good after 24 hours, the brisket was dry and less tender. Make sure to allow the brisket to brine for at least 5 days, if not 6-10 days. If you don’t have that kind of time, find an already corned brisket and throw it in your Instant Pot—you’ll be up and running for St. Patrick’s day in record time.
I can’t remember why, but a couple of weeks ago Brent and I thought it would be a good idea to buy one of those 10-lb bags of carrots at Costco. I had visions of carrot juice in the morning, carrot soufflés, and finding other creative ways to use the carrots. Admittedly, we have made neither juice nor soufflé of carrot.
Fortunately, Brent remembered that during our first trip to Germany, we enjoyed a carrot salad that was bright and tangy as we sat on a bench outside Nymphenburg Palace. In our research, we found quite a few varieties but we settled on keeping our version simple. We’re enjoying it now, and I think we’ll be making it more often once spring time arrives. It’s a perfect side dish for a picnic or cookout!
We may or may not have mentioned before that we enjoy cooking for others as much as we enjoy it for ourselves. We’ve made a habit of cooking food for new parents we know, either by taking over their kitchen for a meal or dropping off batches of food.
One of our neighbors recently had a baby, and they’re similarly focused on eating real food. We did what we do best and took them a batch of this soup after they came home from the hospital. The next day, while out walking our dog, their oldest son ran up to the fence and said, “I really liked your soup!” With eight nieces and nephews, I know how hard it can be to get kids to eat. So, unsolicited praise must mean we did something right!
Just this weekend we made another batch for ourselves, and froze more than half of it. As we look forward to our own baby’s birth in June, we are slowly planning ahead for the inevitable weeks of exhaustion that will follow bringing the baby home. Batch cooking now will save us time and money in the future. We hope you’ll like this soup as much as we and our neighbors do.
We have had some pretty cold and dreary weather lately, and this kind of weather always causes me to crave soup. This weekend, Brent was eager to experiment with something new. Brent discovered Solyanka, a spicy and sour soup that originates from Russia but is also popular in Germany and former Eastern Block countries.
Solyanka is traditionally prepared in three different varieties: meat, fish, or mushroom. When Brent shared our recipe development with our friend Russ, who you might know as The Domestic Man, his first question was “Meat, fish, or mushroom?” As someone who specializes in recreating traditional recipes, it was no surprise to us that he was already familiar.
We have more than a handful of Brussels sprouts recipes. But, we love them so much, we’re always looking for creative ways to make them. A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, Brent’s mom saw a Brussels sprouts slaw at Wegmans and told us about it. We agreed that it was an interesting idea, but there were a few ingredients we wouldn’t usually incorporate into our cooking. So I took the premise and made my own, fall-inspired salad. We served it as part of our Thanksgiving dinner and it was a unique and refreshing vegetable on the plate. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!